Friday, May 9, 2014

The Bully Pulpit

9th May 2014

I just got back from my foray into author-land with five days packed with events in and around Boston. Boston is beautiful in the spring with magnolia trees, cherry blossoms, and parks full of tulips. I was staying at the Park Plaza in a rather ritzy part of town - hence all the flowers. The trip was arranged by my agent Esmond Harmsworth, who, after five years, I finally got to spend more than fifteen minutes with. The one thing he didn't arrange was my book reading at Water Street Book Shop in Exeter, New Hampshire, where some of my in-laws just happen to live. As luck would have it, this is also the book shop where Dan Brown launches his books.

Some artistic soul who works at the store had copied my book cover onto a chalk board by the door! I grew a little nervous as the time for the reading approached and not very many people were arriving. But they did trickle in and soon most of the chairs were filled. I wasn't reading from a script, but gave my presentation ad lib. People asked questions. People bought books (the book store had me sign the copies that were left - nice of them, because otherwise they would be able to return them to the publisher.) Mission accomplished. Afterwards, I happened to notice a pile of Dan Brown's most recent book Inferno stacked against the wall. They were all signed! I was going to buy one, but the kind people in the bookshop gave me one free!

Here's me just after the talk I gave at Muse and the Marketplace about Art from the Heart on Sunday May 4th. Unbenownst to me, my agent's intern was present and tweeting memorable lines - glad she could find some! Here I am standing next to a silly drawing I did to illustrate writer's block.  I was saying that, although this is a popular paradigm of the artist, it isn't a helpful one - the writer shouldn't be trying drag art out of himself/herself like a harakiri artist, but plugging himself/herself into the collective experience of humankind. 

This is one of the Na'vi people of Pandora in James Cameron's film Avatar connecting his ponytail into the Tree of Souls. This image comes over fifty years after Carl Jung coined the term Collective Unconscious, but it is depicting exactly the same thing. 

The night before I left Boston, my agent Esmond put on a literary soiree in my honour (together with the honour of Elisabeth Elo who wrote North of Boston.) Esmond sat us in chairs facing the gathering, and after hors d'oeuvres and too much wine (I should have stopped after the first large glass of Rose) he asked us questions and we entertained, and then we sold books. 
I have signed a lot of books lately - after two glasses of wine, I start mis-spelling names.  But I like to write a little something, too, however incoherent. 
I actually surprised myself on this trip. Despite the nerves, I came through for myself.  Who would have thought? Maybe I could get used to it. Did I say that? No, it must be my evil little twin. I prefer my office and what goes on in there, the ponytail and all that. I feel at ease there.

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